Home Project Alias: Now your smart assistant won’t hear your confidential talks

Project Alias: Now your smart assistant won’t hear your confidential talks

Is my smart assistant always listening to me? This is more of a fear than a query for many. Manufacturers usually brand their smart speakers as “Always Listening”, without bothering to explain what it exactly means. While they surely aren’t listening to your confidential talks, there have been enough instances of unauthorized access as well.

This creates a discomfort among people which a new open-source hardware project plans to erase. Named Project Alias, it is an always-listening speaker that promises to keep Amazon and Google’s smart assistants from listening into your conversations when they shouldn’t be.

Project Alias

Alias is composed of a 3D-printed top layer, a Raspberry Pi, a stereo speaker, and a mic array. It fits on the top of an Amazon Echo or Google Home where it looks like a mass of melted candle wax. After the initial setup process, the device will play a continuous stream of white noise at your smart speaker to keep it from listening to your conversations. Not even “OK Google” or “Alexa” hotwords will reach the ears of your speaker.

Instead you can set up a new hotword for Alias. When it hears that wake word, it’ll stop broadcasting the white noise and whisper “Alexa” or “OK Google” to wake them up. You are now good to use them as normal.

While Google and Amazon let you to keep their devices on mute while holding a private conversation, Alias is designed to give you the benefit of being able to reach them hands-free when you want to. Also, it lets you set a custom hotword, which is a nice bonus feature. However, it cannot protect your voice data once it is sent to the cloud.

Project Alias is a Raspberry Pi project and hence is a DIY thing. Also, the project is experimental and still in development, so even the code isn’t a finished product yet. You can find more info about it at Instrutables and GitHub.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.